Art and design scholarships can go a long way towards turning your artistic dreams into a reality and reaping a solid return on investment for your degree.
Even though you've probably been told that art and design degrees simply lead to the front of the unemployment line or low-paying jobs after graduation, having an art-related education won't make you a starving artist. Today's market is searching for innovators with the creative mindsets, strong communication skills, project management abilities, and resourcefulness needed to succeed. In fact, art degrees often lead to many in-demand professions, including graphic designer, architect, museum curator, art educator, cartographer, set designer, landscape architect, interior designer, web designer, and video game developer.
If you're ready to join the more than 25 million Americans currently working in art and design-related fields, finance your education with some of the following scholarships.
1. Antonio Cirino Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Sponsored by the Rhode Island Foundation, the Antonio Cirino Memorial Scholarship gives up to $12,000 annually to graduate students pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in art education with the intent to teach in one or more of the arts disciplines. Qualified candidates must demonstrate a consistent pursuit of knowledge in the arts, reside within Rhode Island, have unmet financial need, and show a history of involvement in the practice of arts. Graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design are not eligible. Applications must include a college transcript, financial aid award letter, resume, proof of residency, and artwork samples.
2. Archibald Rutledge Scholarship Program
Deadline: February 6th
Within the South Carolina State Department of Education, the Archibald Rutledge Scholarship Program was created to deliver $2,000 awards annually for five graduating high school seniors who are planning to pursue a degree in dance, music, theatre, visual arts, or creative writing. Eligible applicants must be U.S. citizens, have attended a public school in South Carolina for the past two years, plan to enroll in an accredited in-state university, maintain good academic standing, and exhibit artistic excellence. Depending on their discipline, students must submit an original sonnet, narrative poem, dance routine, music composition, one-act play, or artwork.
3. Singer-Songwriter Music Video Scholarship
Deadline: August 15
This scholarship is for aspiring singer-songwriters. Applicants do not need to be music majors to apply. Applicants must post a video of themselves performing an original song on YouTube. Applicants must be U.S. citizens and attest to the fact that they're an unsigned artist. Submissions are judged based on originality, musical technique, and presentation. See website for additional requirements: Singer-Songwriter Music Video Scholarship
Singer-Songwriter Music Video Scholarship
4. Art Renewal Center Scholarship Competition
Deadline: May 31st
Offering a grand total of $30,000 in scholarships for no less than 10 students annually, the Art Renewal Center Scholarship Competition is available for students whose artworks reflect the humanist concepts of traditional and contemporary realism. Eligible students must be accepted or presently enrolled in an ARC-approved art program, intend to become a career artist, have a declared major in the fine arts, and submit at least three recommendation letters. Participants will be judged based on their portfolio of 10 to 15 portraits rendered from life, landscapes, still lifes, cast studies, nude figure drawings, and similar thematic works in realism.
5. Cay Drachnik Minorities Scholarship Fund
Deadline: April 1st
Each year, the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) offers the Cay Drachnik Minorities Scholarship Fund to award $900 to members of an ethnic minority group who have been accepted for enrollment in an AATA-approved art therapy program. Eligible candidates must be studying in the United States, demonstrate financial need, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and showcase a passion for the healing powers of art. Along with the application, students must submit an official academic transcript, two signed letters of recommendation, proof of enrollment, financial aid reports, and a two-page personal essay describing their future goals as art therapists.
6. Charles M. Robertson Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: December 15th
Administered through the National Art Education Association (NAEA), the Charles M. Robertson Memorial Scholarship is granted annually as a partial four-year tuition award to graduating high school seniors who are enrolling in the Pratt School of Art & Design in Brooklyn, New York. To qualify, candidates must be members of an active NAHS chapter, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, plan to major in art education, and exhibit brilliance in art achievement. Completed applications must be accompanied by a letter of nomination, an official transcript, a one-page essay discussing the student's artistic involvement, and five digital samples.
7. Daring Young Artists to Dream Scholarships
Deadline: March 27th
Ranging in value from $2,000 to $6,000, the Daring Young Artists to Dream Scholarships are presented each year through the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) to minority and economically disadvantaged students who lack the financial means to further develop their artistic talents in higher education. Applicants must be pursuing a major in art direction, advertising, fine arts, graphic design, illustration, interactive design, motion graphics, or photography at the undergraduate or graduate level. Qualified students should also be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, be accepted at an accredited American college, and carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0.
8. David Barrett Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: March 1st
Through the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Foundation, the David Barrett Memorial Scholarship is awarded for $12,000 biennially to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate outstanding ability in utilizing classic designs and traditional materials, including furniture and fabrics. Eligible applicants must have attained at least junior-level status, attend an accredited U.S. institution, have a declared major in interior design, have financial need, and exhibit exemplary conceptual creativity. Applications won't be complete without a one-page personal statement, at least one letter of recommendation, and a prepared portfolio featuring 8 to 12 interior design components.
David Barrett Memorial Scholarship
718 7th Street NW 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20001
9. F. Lammot Belin Arts Scholarship
Deadline: December 15th
For a maximum amount of $12,000, the F. Lammot Belin Arts Scholarship is awarded annually in honor of a prominent philanthropist who remained active in the Washington, DC performing arts community until his death in 1982. Qualified candidates who have resided in Northeast Pennsylvania at some point in their lives must be furthering their education at an accredited U.S. institution with a major in painting, sculpture, photography, music, drama, literature, architecture, fine arts, or visual arts. All finalists must appear in person before the selection committee at Waverly Community House for an interview and presentation of their artwork.
F. Lammot Belin Arts Scholarship
P.O. Box 142
Waverly, PA 18471
(570) 586-8191 ext. 2
10. Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship
Deadline: November 17th
Thanks to a generous endowment from the legendary American fashion designer, the Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship was established by the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund to bestow $30,000 annually upon four enterprising undergraduate students majoring in fashion design and related design disciplines. Qualified applicants must be enrolled full-time at a YMA-member school in the United States, have completed at least one year of undergraduate studies, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and have a clear desire for working in the fashion industry. Candidates must submit an application with one letter of nomination, a current resume, an official college transcript, and a fashion-related case study.
Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship
1501 Broadway Suite 1810
New York, NY 10036
11. Iowa Scholarship for the Arts
Deadline: February 2nd
Sponsored by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, the Iowa Scholarship for the Arts is granted each year for $1,500 to outstanding college-bound high school seniors who excel in the arts and wish to pursue a career as an artist or designer. Qualified candidates must reside in Iowa, plan to graduate from an Iowa high school, be accepted for full-time undergraduate enrollment in a fully accredited in-state college, and write a one-page personal essay that clearly showcases their passion for artistic disciplines. Applicants must be planning to major in dance, literature, music, theatre, folk or traditional arts, or visual arts.
12. Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant
Deadline: October 31st
Established by the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), the Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant is presented for $1,000 each year to deserving college students who are currently enrolled in an accredited two or four-year higher learning institution with a declared emphasis in the study of photography. Applicants must submit an application with a short essay explaining their career goals in nature photography and three to five printed samples of work that demonstrate their photographic skills. Scholarship grants will be paid directly to the college at which recipients are or will be enrolled full-time.
13. John F. and Anna Lee Stacey Scholarship Fund
Deadline: February 1st
In partnership with the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the John F. and Anna Lee Stacey Foundation distributes $5,000 scholarships each year to financially support young men and women who aim to make art their profession. Qualified applicants must be between 18 and 35 years old, have U.S. citizenship, attend an accredited post-secondary institution, have a declared major in an arts discipline, and exhibit exceptional artistic talent in expressing the classical tradition of Western culture. Candidates will be required to submit at least five digital images of their artwork and a letter of recommendation.
14. Krylon Clear Choice Art Scholarship
Deadline: May 31st
Annnually, the Krylon Clear Choice Art Scholarship is awarded for $1,000 to five outstanding high school seniors and lower-division undergraduate students in the United States or Canada who are pursuing a degree in a visual arts program, such as painting, drawing, sketching, or sculpture. Eligible candidates must be accepted at an accredited university or art institute, exhibit financial aid, maintain good academic standing, submit a letter of recommendation, and provide a portfolio of three to six images of their original artwork on a CD. In addition, recipients will be given a package of Krylon Artist Sprays for creating their masterpieces.
15. M. Josephine O'Neil Arts Award
Deadline: March 1st
With the goal of encouraging continued involvement in the arts, the M. Josephine O'Neil Arts Award is presented by the Lambda State Organization of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society (DKG) International for up to $6,000 to female college students majoring in music, visual arts, dance, or performing arts. Eligible candidates must reside in Illinois, be enrolling in her junior year at an accredited U.S. college or university, and exhibit outstanding art achievements. Applications must include a personal cover letter, an official college transcript, two letters of recommendation, a two-page typed essay, and at least three examples of students' artwork.
16. Marion Barr Stanfield Art Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
Within the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), the Marion Barr Stanfield Art Scholarship is granted each year for up to $5,000 to undergraduate or graduate Unitarian Universalist students who are studying painting, drawing, photography, and/or sculpture in post-secondary education. Qualified candidates must be preparing for a career in the fine arts, attend an accredited U.S. institution full-time, demonstrate financial need, be active members of their congregation, submit an up-to-date portfolio, and write a two-page personal essay describing how they portray Unitarian Universalist values in their artwork. Applicants will be automatically considered for the Pauly D'Orlando Memorial Art Scholarship too.
17. Naomi Winston Scholarship in Art
Deadline: February 1st
Through the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL), the Naomi Winston Scholarship in Art is offered to provide a maximum award of $5,000 to young artists who are pursuing private study, special training, workshops, museum fellowships, or summer programs related to visual two-dimensional arts. Candidates must be between the ages of 16 and 22, have U.S. citizenship, have membership on an active NSAL chapter, and demonstrate a commitment to their career plans in the visual arts. For consideration, applicants must submit a CD of five original artworks done in realistic, abstract, or expressive style within jpeg high-quality format.
18. National Art Honor Society Scholarships
Deadline: March 9th
In the amounts of $5,000, $10,000, and $20,000, the National Art Honor Society Scholarships are distributed each year from the Art Institutes to three graduating high school seniors belonging to the NAHS who are pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree in fine, visual, performing, applied, or decorative art disciplines. Eligible recipients must be legal residents of the United States or Canada, be accepted at any Art Institute school, and have maintained a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Students must write a personal statement describing their art-related goals and six different original pieces of artwork representing their creative ability.
19. National YoungArts Foundation Scholarships
Deadline: October 17th
Ranging in value from $1,000 to $10,000 apiece, the National YoungArts Foundation gives numerous scholarships each year to beginning artists between the ages of 15 and 18 who show extraordinary talent in cinematic arts, dance, design, jazz, music, photography, theatre, visual arts, voice, and/or writing. Eligible applicants must be enrolled in a public or private high school in the United States, plan to pursue post-secondary education in any art discipline, submit an audition or portfolio, and pay a small $35 application fee. Recipients will also receive access to internship opportunities, take master classes with world-renowned artists, and benefit from professional mentoring.
20. SOI Student Scholarship Competition
Deadline: January 30th
Since 1981, the Society of Illustrators (SOI) has hosted the Student Scholarship Competition each year to provide $1,000 to $10,000 to exemplary junior or senior-level undergraduate students who are pursuing a degree in illustration, comic arts, sequential arts, animation, cartooning, or other similar visual art disciplines. Eligible students must attend an accredited U.S. university or art institute, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and submit a portfolio with a minimum of 10 images displaying their abilities in illustration. Finalists will be treated to a private dinner with illustrators, cartoonists, and publishers for an interview.
21. Young American Creative Patriotic Art Awards
Deadline: March 31st
Administered by the Ladies Auxiliary VFW, the Young American Creative Patriotic Art Awards are granted each year for $500, $1,500, $2,500, $5,000, and $10,000 apiece to high school students who use water color, pencil, pastel, charcoal, tempera, crayon, acrylic paint, ink pen, or oil to create an original artwork expressing their patriotism. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, attend school in the same state as their sponsoring Ladies Auxiliary, be at least freshmen in high school, and have hopes of an art career. Entries will be judged based on their originality, patriotism expressed, design technique, clarity of ideas, artistic ability, and overall presentation.
Overall, there's no need to be scared away from pursuing your dreams of being an artist or designer simply due to rising college tuition costs across the United States. When you use your creativity to locate numerous sources of financial aid, you'll be able to reduce the financial burden of your degree and enter the exciting art world with little student loan debt. Start your search with these 25 great art and design scholarships, then visit your college's financial aid office to learn more about more art-related funding opportunities available.